Egads! A Theory of Everything?

by Ryan on November 16, 2007

in Anything Else,Election 2008,Politics

I was a little tired of CNN’s lovefest coverage of She Who Must Not Be Named’s pre-coronation gala (aka last night’s “debate”), so I looked for some other topic to distract me from the She-Witch, Barry O’Bama’s terrible performance, Edwards faking it as usual, and the always fun wimpy cast of second tier “also-rans” (all they need is face-paint, honking horns and a few tricycles).

So, file this one under anything else!

This is “E8″ (not the thing inside the Indian flag, that’s Gandhi’s spinning wheel): 

It’s a math problem that was invented in 1887 and finally solved in March of 2007.  It has a 248-dimensional answer.  I have no idea what that means, but it seems to be causing some excitement in the field.  Aside from a huge High-Five given to all the mathematicians involved with this huge project, someone else got a hold of it.  A. Garrett Lisi, a physics PhD who apparently surfs and snowboards, saw the formula and played around with it.  He unexpectedly bumped into a potential candidate for the “Grand Unified Theory” of the universe!  Sounds strange. 

The problem with the Universe is that currently we can’t figure out why forces in the same Universe seem to act differently with really small objects as opposed to really big ones.  If a force is a force, then it should make sense on both levels.  But it doesn’t… yet.  Dr. Lisi’s discovery could be an explanation that meshes all the forces together! 

What does this mean to us who live outside of MIT?  Not too much now, but the potential is exciting.  The better we understand the Universe, the more likely we will be able to manipulate it for our collective benefit.  Also, I always find that the deeper we get into understanding the Universe, the more orderly and simple it becomes as more of it is revealed to us through periodic mathematical and scientific discoveries.  It’s almost as if there was a design that we are uncovering bit-by-bit.  Hmm…

AP photo.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

TRM November 18, 2007 at 8:28 pm



Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: